Despite all the difficult economic conditions afflicting Lebanon, Madiha Raslan, president and founder of the Lebanese Council for Women Leaders, insists on moving forward with her mission without losing hope.
Since 2018, Raslan began her official career within economic organizations through establishing and chairing the Lebanese Council for Women Leaders, after assuming the position of Vice President of the Lebanese Association for Franchise Licenses in 2009, following more than 19 years of experience in the business field.
In an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat, Raslan talks about her experience in the Council, which she established with the support of Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri and the head of economic bodies in Lebanon, Mohammad Shukair. She describes the step as a “challenge”, which she succeeded in overcoming before it collided with the economic and political crisis that hit Lebanon since 2019.
Upon its formation, the Council gathered about 12 businesswomen from various sectors until the number reached 120 currently. The main goal is to integrate Lebanese women into the economic system and enable them to become partners in decision making.
In this regard, she says that the foundations to achieve this goal were present, but collided with the political crisis in Lebanon, which is badly affecting the economy.
“In Lebanon, the greatest challenge is the political situation, meaning that political stability is the basis that would constitute the solution, or at least open a door for a solution,” she tells Asharq Al-Awsat.
She continues: “As a private sector, we do not ask officials and politicians for money or anything. We just want them to think of Lebanon as a country for our children… instead of taking it hostage to non-Lebanese interests…”
Raslan, however, refuses to talk about accepting the status quo. In response to a question about whether she feels hopeless, she says: “There is no doubt that the whole country is in a state of despair, but hope is always there, which makes us resist, continue to search for solutions and make efforts to save the situation.”
She reveals that the Council is working on a recovery plan by seeking to bring fresh dollars into the market to activate the economic wheel, which could be achieved through expatriates who have confidence in the private sector or with investments in Lebanese companies.
Raslan affirms that Lebanese women will have a major role in the future of their country, reiterating that providing specific foundations and factors will help revive the economic sector.